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#1 2008-06-13 17:00:53

Seth
Member
From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Gishin, help me understand!

OK, this may be in the wrong section of the forum as it is not shakuhachi related.  If so, please accept my apologies.

Gishin-

First off, let it be known, I dig you.

You're clearly a remarkably well educated man and your posts are always a pleasure to read.   I honestly appreciate the depth and width of your knowledge.   In your posts I have seen a healthy balance of love for the tradition you follow with humility.

Therefore I think you are a great guy to answer this question.

Here goes:

I don't get dharma.   I just don't get it.   

The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism are amazingly simple and clear.   The real power of the Buddha is that you DO NOT need to study a lot to appreciate his message.  As far as I can tell, the entire teachings of the Buddha can be summarized quite well on one page.  And this is not a criticism, it's a compliment. 

My sad suspicion is that the other 10,000 books of stories, commentaries and so on that comprise the Buddhist liturgy are what arose to keep the priestly class well employed and people busy.  It's a simple by-product of the industry of religion.  I have intimate knowledge of this practice as a born and bred Jew.  The industry of Judaism produced the Talmud which is really the story of turning the ten commandments (again, one page of text) into a shockingly long encyclopedia of, sorry to say it, questionable value.   

But as a great admirer of Buddhism I want to be shown that I am wrong.  Really.

Gishin- Can you articulate the practical and/or spiritual value of studying the greater world of Buddhist lore and thought?  (Which is what I am calling the Dharma. Let me know if I am abusing the term painfully.)

In particular that story about Fuke.  It reminds me of the school of modern art which aims to mostly just shock and weird you out.  Yeah, the story is surprising, and it is entertaining, but I highly doubt it contains any valuable insight.  The puzzling nature of the story is good at creating the illusion of value, but I am pretty sure it is just an illusion.   It's an awful lot like people dressing all in black to somehow appear more thoughtful. 

I have read an awfull lot of books by most people's standards.  And in my experience I have seen a pattern: really valuable intellectual and spiritual insights are easy to articulate and easy to understand.   An idea that is hard to articulate is either poorly thought out, or it is intentionally made confusing in order to create a pregnant sense of mystery.  And that pregnant sense of mystery is almost always a manipulative gambit to convince others there is more going on than there actually is.  Kind of like how a camera jumps around a lot during a fight or sex scene in a movie; the viewer's imagination ends up creating half of the action. 

The two groups who seem to commit this folly most often include:  academics and gurus.  Not surprisingly these happen to be two groups who make a living by convincing others they have access to a body of knowledge or a depth of understanding that others do not.   (And then there are those special few who are academics AND gurus.  I get really distraught and outright angry when I read their books. Yes, I am talking about you Ken Wilber.)

So, Gishin, help me understand.   You clealy have invested enough time and energy to truly understand many of these texts.  Besides pure intellectual curiosity, is there any value to this pursuit?  I am convinced of the power of the Four Noble Truths, but I am highly doubtful as to the value of the 1,000 guys who came afterwards to provide me an in-depth commentary on the Four Noble Truths. 

While my question may sound biting, it is not a rhetorical one.  I really would love to know the value of the pursuit of studying dharma.   Emotionally I would love for you to show me the benefits of this endavour, but intellectually I am very skeptical.

Last edited by Seth (2008-06-13 18:06:18)

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#2 2008-06-13 18:06:30

Lorka
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Registered: 2007-02-27
Posts: 303

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Seth,

I will leave the giving of answers to those better suited to such efforts.  I just wanted to applaud your well articulated post... especially the following bit....

"really valuable intellectual and spiritual insights are easy to articulate and easy to understand.   An idea that is hard to articulate is either poorly thought out, or it is intentionally made confusing in order to create a pregnant sense of mystery.  And that pregnant sense of mystery is almost always a manipulative gambit to convince others there is more going on than there actually is." --- Seth

Seems pretty much Bang on to me.   Very well put.  I agree that every spiritual truth, and in fact, most "truths" in general, have the ring of what the philosopher's call "intuitive plausibility", which is simply to say, that it jives with our inner truth sense, or BS-detector.   

We know truth when we encounter it.  Particularly when it comes in the form of a stick to the head.   

The whole "articulation and understanding" thing is very interesting.  I get the sense that you are hinting at a kind of synthesis in which potent experience merges the two into direct insight.  Then again, I may be reading my own rhetoric into what you say.  Still, I do like what you say.   

As a child (and often as an adult), I have struggled to find the words to fit the shapes inside me.   I can understand, often in a blank wordless way, but when I try to put things in the cage of words I find myself unfit for the task.  Again, as a child I would sometimes have these quasi-revelatatory feelings of understanding, but I fumbled for the words.  I could not say what I felt.  I still fumble, and gladly so.   When I give up trying to find the words, that's when they suddenly appear, as if from outside of myself.   But still, there are shapes inside us and great vistas of submerged understanding that cannot be sqeezed into words.   

I wonder sometimes if words every really say anything at all.  But isn't that what makes things like Shakuahchi all the more of a blessing?

As always I ramble on more than I should.

Last edited by Lorka (2008-06-13 18:12:22)


Gravity is the root of grace

~ Lao Tzu~

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#3 2008-06-13 18:53:55

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
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Re: Gishin, help me understand!

I will answer this one for sure even if it takes me a while to gater my peabrain to render something that is clear and simple.

Let me make sure the ittle princess was all cared for and I will get to it later tonight when she is sleeping.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#4 2008-06-13 19:24:19

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
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Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Also a bit busy taking out the trash on some other forum.

http://www.masterwithin.org/ordination.html

Also look athis great bullcrap info all over http://www.masterwithin.org/

The guy calls himself bunch of titles that make no sense PLUS his diploma looks straight out of Office Depot with a bunch of conflicting info and terms directly on the diploma. This will amuse you while I get my post done.

Entertain yourself in a great fake and one of the reason I will also explain why I am also sick of Buddhsim in geenral in North America.


I guess I am in daddy mode now. Keep one side busy when I do something else wink


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#5 2008-06-13 19:24:24

david
Member
Registered: 2006-07-25
Posts: 71

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

There is nothing that is unknowable, except for what is not known, which is known to none.


david
'Listen to the words of no man; listen only to the sounds of the wind and the waves of the sea.,~Claude Debussy

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#6 2008-06-13 19:36:38

lowonthetotem
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From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529
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Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Also a bit busy taking out the trash on some other forum.

http://www.masterwithin.org/ordination.html

Also look athis great bullcrap info all over http://www.masterwithin.org/

The guy calls himself bunch of titles that make no sense PLUS his diploma looks straight out of Office Depot with a bunch of conflicting info and terms directly on the diploma. This will amuse you while I get my post done.

Entertain yourself in a great fake and one of the reason I will also explain why I am also sick of Buddhsim in geenral in North America.


I guess I am in daddy mode now. Keep one side busy when I do something else

You can find much more of this bunk by googling "quantum buddhism."  I am surprised they don't have an infomercial.

Best wishes to the little princess.


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#7 2008-06-14 03:20:47

Lance
Member
Registered: 2008-01-19
Posts: 74

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Do we believe that ‘enlightenment’ was brought by Buddha, where it had not existed before? Do we believe that we must be given enlightenment through some ‘master’ or earn it along some path? That we seek others for our salvation is a flaw we must be cautious against. As one might carry water to the thirsty, and save them, the water was there before, to be found.


“The firefly is a good lesson in light, and darkness”

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#8 2008-06-14 04:18:08

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
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Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Ok so before I start I want to make the following statement that the lines that will follow are only my own personal opinion from my own experience and practice and expose how I practice and what I practiced and what I choose to see as valid Buddhism. This will surely shock some so please see this as only the opinion of a fool. And go on  with what you think is the right thing and forget what I said.

So here we go.

Seth in answer to your string of questions and precision here is what I was able to formulate.

Seth wrote:

I don't get dharma.   I just don't get it.   

The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism are amazingly simple and clear.   The real power of the Buddha is that you DO NOT need to study a lot to appreciate his message.  As far as I can tell, the entire teachings of the Buddha can be summarized quite well on one page.  And this is not a criticism, it's a compliment.

Yes indeed its quite simple and straight to the point and we should always go back to exactly that and sitting down and shut up to look at ourselves once in a while to clean some of our personal Bullshit. Because when you look at the four noble truths it does help to make everything make sense again even if our present situation is hard etc.



Seth wrote:

My sad suspicion is that the other 10,000 books of stories, commentaries and so on that comprise the Buddhist liturgy are what arose to keep the priestly class well employed and people busy.  It's a simple by-product of the industry of religion.  I have intimate knowledge of this practice as a born and bred Jew.  The industry of Judaism produced the Talmud which is really the story of turning the ten commandments (again, one page of text) into a shockingly long encyclopedia of, sorry to say it, questionable value.

Well I would not be surprised since it surely looks like it. Especially considering the fact that the Sutras were written way after the Buddha and all his original disciples were long gone. Same thing goes with The Vinaya (Precepts)

My take on all this is that many of the Sutras are just like reading Lord of the Rings or watching a Star War movie. Its jam-packed full of marvellous feats and flashy stuff the just make no sense. DO I think it is Bullshit? YES and NO. YES if people are stupid enough to think this really happened or if the Buddha really said some of the stuff in there.

NO if people are able to understand that those were written to tell a story that maybe made more sense at the time and still does today in many case but in some other it is just plain stupid and will lead the practitioner to let go of their previous illusions to cling to new ones with a Buddhist twist to them. So to sum it up for me some Sutras are pure B.S and other even if probably never spoken by the Buddha make sense and have a lot to teach us.

Now for the Vinaya (Precepts) why the heck do you need more rules? Most of our mothers raised us properly with bunch of rules to act properly in life and if this is not enough we as human being have a Civil and Criminal code to respect.

Precepts are useful and part of Buddhism for me but not the extent that they become religious blind stupidity that we have to follow. For example not eating garlic! What kind of stupidity is that? Garlic is very good for health and this has been proven beyond doubt by so many studies. So I should not do it because some rules say it over stimulates us?

Same goes with not eating meat! If you tell me that you do not eat meat because those are rules of the Buddha then I piss on you! If you say you don’t eat meat because you want to help protect our environment and that you don’t respect the way we raise the animals that are used for meat and that as a human being on a path to self improvement you chose on your own to make this choice this I will respect.

Anyway when it comes to most non meat eater love Bambi type of Buddhist they believe in this because animals are cute but its ok for them to kill plants but yet they claim to follow Zen. IN my book when you discriminate between plant and animals and just make easy judgment of that type because you have more interactions with animals than plants then you are not on the path and why? Because you cannot think on your own and judge for yourself and need to be guided like a blind fool. For me I respect everything I eat to it’s fullest and when buying meat try to make sensible choices PLUS eat less of it as well for many reasons.

I could go on for hours about all those precepts including celibacy etc.


Seth wrote:

Gishin- Can you articulate the practical and/or spiritual value of studying the greater world of Buddhist lore and thought?  (Which is what I am calling the Dharma. Let me know if I am abusing the term painfully.)

Well as a priest I have to say we should study all the Sutras that are related directly to our school and also other Sutras that are external tours later on as well even if some of them do not have much value to us. Why? Because it will permit us to have a better judgment of Historical developments in Buddhism and what can be useful to our time and place.
So for lay people is their value in this as well? If you are curious and want to read go for it but in the end without a good teacher most will grow tired of this mumbo jumbo or just follow this like a stiff roman catholic thinking about their reincarnation etc.


What Sutras do I read and use and see as useful for me and anybody Buddhist or not.

They are the simplest ones and they are to the point. Again most likely never spoken by the Buddha but they resume most if not all the Buddhist way of thinking.

So I would go with not more not less than the heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra.


Seth wrote:

So, Gishin, help me understand.   You clealy have invested enough time and energy to truly understand many of these texts.  Besides pure intellectual curiosity, is there any value to this pursuit?  I am convinced of the power of the Four Noble Truths, but I am highly doubtful as to the value of the 1,000 guys who came afterwards to provide me an in-depth commentary on the Four Noble Truths.

I think there is value in reading studying all that old stuff BUT to the same extent we try to read old Egyptian hieroglyphs. I have seen a pattern among so many over literate Priests both Asian and westerners that can recite and decipher so many stuff but yet fail to translate even 5% of that stuff for common people to use in daily life or for them to deepen their own heart to be more approachable teacher. My teacher once told me if you cannot talk or use common language to pass the message then you are a failure as a priest.


Hope my lengthy answer helps but before this degenerates in hate posts from other possible Buddhist I will not tolerate any degeneration of this thread I have warned the readers at first that of they did not like what they read just to overlook it so if this is the case they should use this in their Buddhist practice in just not caring about the words of this fool.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#9 2008-06-14 15:07:31

lowonthetotem
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From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529
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Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Hope my lengthy answer helps but before this degenerates in hate posts from other possible Buddhist I will not tolerate any degeneration of this thread I have warned the readers at first that of they did not like what they read just to overlook it so if this is the case they should use this in their Buddhist practice in just not caring about the words of this fool.

Very insightful in my opinion.  It is always interesting how discussions among Buddhists often become so heated in a very us and them kind of way.  It always needs to be a practice that is utilitarian.  Although it is discussed in many Sutras, when we return to the Four Noble Truths, it is evident that this practice that is called Buddhism is like a medicine for suffering.  When medicine does not work it is for one of two reasons.  Either it is the wrong medicine (something professed by a so-called guru or egotistical teacher) or it is being taken the wrong way (something the has not been interpreted with Right View, as the Noble Eightfold Path is indeed part of the Four Noble Truths and the beginning of practice).  Ultimately it is up to the practitioner to investigate which of these is the case.  Right View is not always apparent to our more egotistic selves and often requires a little more investigation to develop and should always be open to re-evaluation.  I think Sutra study and study of Patriarchs can be useful here.

Now for the Vinaya (Precepts) why the heck do you need more rules? Most of our mothers raised us properly with bunch of rules to act properly in life and if this is not enough we as human being have a Civil and Criminal code to respect.

It is interesting to note that the 200+ precepts of the full Vinaya were a response to specific actions of the early monastic community, who were in many cases rather degenerate.  I do try my best to follow a set of precepts that I have received from my teacher; however, they are not commandments.  Precepts can easily become something that people cling to as much as they cling to their ego or or other dogmatic views (like the Catholic dogma that you mention), yet they can also be useful in identifying our ego by showing us things that we just don't WANT to give up or embrace.  This is useful too.  One precept that I have received with regards to right speech and right view, is not clinging to ideas or views, even Buddhist ones, if they have the tendency to cause divisiveness or discord within my community.  As far as the Buddha eating meat, he ate whatever people gave him, from what I understand.  I wonder how many militant vegetarians or vegans would be willing to let someone else decide what they would eat day in and day out.

They are the simplest ones and they are to the point.

Indeed, it is often the shortest sutras that offer us the most.  I'd include the Sutra on the Four Bases of Mindfulness, although it is not always widely read in Mahayana circles.  Indeed, much of the Dhammapada is what is the most readily available information that we have.  Often it is very concise and to the point, even if it is a little repetitive at times.

Do we believe that ‘enlightenment’ was brought by Buddha, where it had not existed before? Do we believe that we must be given enlightenment through some ‘master’ or earn it along some path? That we seek others for our salvation is a flaw we must be cautious against. As one might carry water to the thirsty, and save them, the water was there before, to be found.

This is a good point.  One thing that I would say, though, is seeking enlightenment or salvation is a pitfall in itself.  However, that is one thing that draws many of us to Buddhism.  I'd say that it is worth noting that Bodhimind, for lack of a less Buddhist term, is not bestowed on us by another, and yet it is not dicovered within what we generally consider to be our "selves."  That is why this is a Middle Path.  That term has less to do with eating and drinking in moderation than it has to do with the nature of our view of the world and reality.  Futhermore, the awakened mind is acheived through the use of the discerning mind, which is what we can use to find real teachers that can help us open up to what is already there.  Although some of us may be very gifted in our ability to negate our more egotsitical selves, many of us can use some help getting shaken from our self-centeredness.

Ultimately, and somewhat paradoxically, I feel that the end of suffering, or at least the easing of suffering, arises through an acceptance of suffering and a relinquishment of expectations that everything should be bliss and butterflies (the general concept of Nirvana for many).  This generally begins with acceptance of the falsity within our assumptioins of our own wisdom.  Surely we are not unthinking or wholly ignorant, but we are not all knowing either.  With that in mind a teacher, dead or alive, may be someone that could help us uncover what is indeed always there to be found.

Last edited by lowonthetotem (2008-06-14 15:13:11)


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#10 2008-06-14 16:16:09

Horst Xenmeister
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From: Germany
Registered: 2007-05-26
Posts: 69
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Re: Gishin, help me understand!

lowonthetotem wrote:

Ultimately, and somewhat paradoxically, I feel that the end of suffering, or at least the easing of suffering, arises through an acceptance of suffering and a relinquishment of expectations that everything should be bliss and butterflies (the general concept of Nirvana for many).

Suffers is truth. The truth of the world is bad truth. Therefore, if we practice dharma, we engage us in bad truth. The bad truth can be simply waived into good truth, by looking deeply in us and away strips the evil. If a woman loves a man and love of a man a woman, it is the same as shakuhachi, which waits into a dark area and that a player comes, him to the life for getting waits. Afterwards that we drink beer and eat wurst. Nothing is simpler than this. By this method we investigate Zen. Best way is to forget and live for the moment by wurst and beer everything.

Last edited by Horst Xenmeister (2008-06-14 16:23:05)


i am horst

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#11 2008-06-14 16:23:03

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
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From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
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Re: Gishin, help me understand!

A bit cryptic but makes sense to me.

You are now my German Yoda jedi master!


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#12 2008-06-15 18:51:02

Seth
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From: Scarsdale, NY
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 270

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Gishin-

Thanks!

I think I understand that the second wave of literature enriches the core beliefs but is in no way required to understand the core beliefs.

A couple of follow ups:

1) Vegetarianism.  Is there really a school of thought that ascribes equal value to plants and animals? I had thought that the Buddha preached value for all sentient beings.  Not sure the Buddha saw plants as an actual sentient creatures. 

Yes, the Buddha ate meat and allowed his monks to eat meat but only when it was offered to them.  He and his followers never ate meat that was specifically killed for them.  And they most certainly would not go into a restaurant and order a rack of lamb.  Therefore in this day and age when we have total control of what we eat when, how could one justify eating meat?

2) Garlic.  The reason some religious people avoid garlic and onion is that the cultivation of these vegetables actually kill the mother plant and perhaps some bugs.    (There is a nice story about the young Buddha getting depressed from watching a field being plowed as he could see that the bugs in the field were being killed.) Jains in India is a group that actually maintains this practice.    Gandhi was so concerned about this that he was what he called a "fruitarian" which means he would only eat fruit and nuts that had already fallen from a tree so he could be sure that his diet was causing no creature harm.    But I don't recall reading any text that actually argues that plants are sentient beings.   This notion of not discriminating between plants and animals, is this your own idea?

3) Do you believe in reincarnation?

4) Do you believe that the Buddha will come back in a new incarnation?

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#13 2008-06-15 20:04:51

radi0gnome
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From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
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Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Seth wrote:

2) Garlic.  The reason some religious people avoid garlic and onion is that the cultivation of these vegetables actually kill the mother plant and perhaps some bugs.    (There is a nice story about the young Buddha getting depressed from watching a field being plowed as he could see that the bugs in the field were being killed.) Jains in India is a group that actually maintains this practice.    Gandhi was so concerned about this that he was what he called a "fruitarian" which means he would only eat fruit and nuts that had already fallen from a tree so he could be sure that his diet was causing no creature harm.    But I don't recall reading any text that actually argues that plants are sentient beings.   This notion of not discriminating between plants and animals, is this your own idea?

I don't know where they got there influences, but there's an East Indian cult called the Jains that has similar beliefs. I don't see it in this Wikipedia link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism , but I've read that they will only eat fruit that has fallen from a tree because picking it off would be bad karma or something. After that "Secret Life of Plants" book back in the '70's I doubt that Gishin was the first to make up his idea about plants even if it is his own idea.

For those with an intellectual bent, I highly suggest Ken Wilber's book "Spectrum of Consciouness". It's not directly related to Buddhism, but the author was the editor of "Tricycle" magazine, which was (maybe still is) a magazine about Buddhism. If I were selling this book I'd gaurantee some "ah-ha!" moments from it. Keep in mind though that it's very far from light reading. Also keep in mind that Ken Wilber himself, while not exactly saying he's changed his mind about some of the topics, has pointed out that he was very young when he wrote the book. http://www.amazon.com/Spectrum-Consciou … amp;sr=8-2  And you can get it used real cheap too!


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#14 2008-06-15 20:41:24

Karmajampa
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Posts: 574
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Re: Gishin, help me understand!

An interesting thread. Many good questions.
My personal teacher is/was Namgyal Rinpoche, died 2004. A Canadian monk for whom no stone was left unturned. One of his practices in teaching was that we come to discriminate between what is currently relvant and what is not. By still responding to that which is no longer relevant we are carrying neurotic baggage, and this is suffering. He taught me that the ego makes the yes/no decisions as to what we want, without this we would do nothing, stagnate. Karma is 'action' and we should ask, "what am I building ?" with my actions, mental, physical and with my speech/communication.
My own practice is that of mindfulness, as described in the practice of Anapanasati, 'mindfulness of in/out breath', or 'mindfulness of in/out energy'. I have heard that this was the one teaching that the Gautama Buddha introduced, that all of his other discourses were elaborations or descriptions of already existing teaching. Also that monasteries were like Universities, where the investigating mind was supported.
I also feel it is necessary to discriminate betwween 'Culture' and 'Dharma' in that what we call Religions today consist predominantly of Cultural mores. But at the same time, a teacher, if he/she is going to teach, has to take the student as they are, culture and all. This would be a compassionate practice. But then Compassion is not always a comfortable action.
I attempt to train myself to 'understand' rather than 'believe' as it seems to me 'belief' has a degree of acceptance without understanding. I see my Spiritual life as continuously being in a state of flux. To attempt to grasp and cling to some 'final' description is suffering as 'all that is formed is at the same time being un-formed', or 'all that is born is also dying'.
Regarding what we eat, all life requires nourishment, one cannot live without taking life. This regards Life in its fullest manifestation, from single celled organisms, bacteria, insects, plants, animals, humans, and beyond into forms we are not aware of.
For me, meditation initially brings one into a calm still foundation, but this is only a starting place for investigation. That if one is 'stressed' one cannot engage clearly and without distraction, so this calm unbiased platform is useful, perhaps necessary if we are to be open to new experiences.
I also think we must regard Dharma as not only that which is in the sutras etc, but that which is demonstrated by Nature. To look at the inter-dependance of all life.

Metta,

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#15 2008-06-15 21:43:41

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
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From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
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Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Karmajampa wrote:

I also feel it is necessary to discriminate betwween 'Culture' and 'Dharma' in that what we call Religions today consist predominantly of Cultural mores. But at the same time, a teacher, if he/she is going to teach, has to take the student as they are, culture and all. This would be a compassionate practice. But then Compassion is not always a comfortable action.
I attempt to train myself to 'understand' rather than 'believe' as it seems to me 'belief' has a degree of acceptance without understanding. I see my Spiritual life as continuously being in a state of flux. To attempt to grasp and cling to some 'final' description is suffering as 'all that is formed is at the same time being un-formed', or 'all that is born is also dying'.
Regarding what we eat, all life requires nourishment, one cannot live without taking life. This regards Life in its fullest manifestation, from single celled organisms, bacteria, insects, plants, animals, humans, and beyond into forms we are not aware of.
For me, meditation initially brings one into a calm still foundation, but this is only a starting place for investigation. That if one is 'stressed' one cannot engage clearly and without distraction, so this calm unbiased platform is useful, perhaps necessary if we are to be open to new experiences.
I also think we must regard Dharma as not only that which is in the sutras etc, but that which is demonstrated by Nature. To look at the inter-dependance of all life.

Metta,

Kel.

THANK YOU!

Not exactly what I was going to write but you resumed a lot of what I was feeling and how I wanted to give it to others without my usual salp in the fac and kick in the but while they try to go away.

Your words are really appreciated. later today I will add to this again when my little girl gives me a break.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#16 2008-06-16 03:47:52

Zakarius
Member
From: Taichung, TAIWAN
Registered: 2006-04-12
Posts: 361

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Seth wrote:

2) Garlic.  The reason some religious people avoid garlic and onion is that the cultivation of these vegetables actually kill the mother plant and perhaps some bugs.

My understanding is that Buddhists don't eat garlic, onions and peppers because they believe these foods will increase one's sexual appetite... and "desire is the cause of all suffering."

Zak -- jinashi size queen


塵も積もれば山となる -- "Chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru." -- Piled-up specks of dust become a mountain.

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#17 2008-06-16 04:03:55

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Zakarius wrote:

Seth wrote:

2) Garlic.  The reason some religious people avoid garlic and onion is that the cultivation of these vegetables actually kill the mother plant and perhaps some bugs.

My understanding is that Buddhists don't eat garlic, onions and peppers because they believe these foods will increase one's sexual appetite... and "desire is the cause of all suffering."

Zak -- jinashi size queen

This is the exact same info I got orally and in written stuff I read over the years.

Anyway this is rubbish


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#18 2008-06-16 14:22:56

Lorka
Member
Registered: 2007-02-27
Posts: 303

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Seems dodgy to me, this whole anti-garlicism

Though opinions will (quite naturally) diifer, I have heard from doctors (not the self proclaimed kind) that garlic is remarkably good for your health. 

From my own admittedly unscientific viewpoint, I tend to agree.   It has a strong fortifying effect on the immune system.   Next time you  feel like you're catching a cold or something, take lots of garlic. 

The combinations are many (and tasty).  Garlic pressed into a salad can turn a so-so creation into something delicious.  Garlic roasted (for at least 45 minutes, at 350) is soft and sweet, and melts in your mouth.   Cooking, however, lessens some of the medicinal benefits.   Garlic and butter also seem to get along very well.  hmmmm.

Oh yeah, and it keeps vampires away.  I would add, of course, not to eat garlic the day before a date or a job interview. 

To garlic, or not to garlic.   Well, eating it seems like a personal choice, and in my opinion, a good one.  Codifying food choices such as this always struck me as a tad pointless.  Food fascism is a sad thing indeed.   I say, if Mother nature went to all that effort to give us such wonderful foodstuffs then it would be an awful waste, and quite rude of us to say no.

Lime also seems to have a similar, well documented, fortifying effect.  When feeling down, try drinking lots of lime (freshly squeezed), and integrate some garlic into your dinner.  You may be suprised.  Now, back to shakuhachi


Gravity is the root of grace

~ Lao Tzu~

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#19 2008-06-16 15:38:31

lowonthetotem
Member
From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529
Website

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

From what I have heard from monks in China, they don't eat garlic because they say staying away from it helps them to quell sexual urges and tendencies towards anger.

I'd tend to stay away from strict diets, as they seem rather dogmatic.  I try to eat restrict meat as much as possible, mostly because I just think it is a responsible thing to do given ecology.  However, my wife is not vegetarian, so I often have to compromise.

FYI, roasted garlic is tastey for sure, but most of the health benefits that everyone is discussing disappear when garlic is heated.  Pressing it raw into oil and then putting it on salad is very good for you.  It helps your pancreas work properly, as well as your digestive system as a whole.  Also, if you eat raw garlic, you will sleep very soundly, mostly because you will be sleeping alone. big_smile

1) Vegetarianism.  Is there really a school of thought that ascribes equal value to plants and animals? I had thought that the Buddha preached value for all sentient beings.  Not sure the Buddha saw plants as an actual sentient creatures.

I've heard, although I am unfamiliar with the scriptural reference, that this is actually what separated the Jains/Jians (unsure of the spelling) from early Buddhists.  However, some schools of Buddhism do feel that plants are caught up in the cycle of rebirth as well and could eventually become enlightened beings, citing the tree spirits other spirits in plants within the Jataka Tales as evidence.  Thich Nhat Hanh makes this proposal in his book No Death, No Fear (could be the reverse).  Other schools feel this is fairly heretical, claiming that it means that even monks cannot lead a stainless life.  I think it is fairly obvious that none of us lead a stainless life.  To think otherwise seems to be the height of egotism to me.  It is interesting to note that these are the same schools that tend to separate the sutras into those that came from the mouth of the Buddha (which seems like a sketchy assumption) and those that did not.  I think the main issue is to be mindful, not just of breath, but of everything we do.  Every action or kharma sends out ripples and how many entities helped and conspired to put food on your plate?  This should help us realize how precious it is, plant or animal.  Our existence and health are fragile and held in the hands of many who help us along, even clouds and water and soil.

Last edited by lowonthetotem (2008-06-16 15:46:27)


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#20 2008-06-16 19:34:47

nyokai
shihan
From: Portland, ME
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 613
Website

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

lowonthetotem wrote:

From what I have heard from monks in China, they don't eat garlic because they say staying away from it helps them to quell sexual urges...

Eating raw garlic may increase your libido but it lowers your chances.

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#21 2008-06-16 21:58:15

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

nyokai wrote:

lowonthetotem wrote:

From what I have heard from monks in China, they don't eat garlic because they say staying away from it helps them to quell sexual urges...

Eating raw garlic may increase your libido but it lowers your chances.

Well if you went in country side Korea most Ajuma would find ir pretty sexy if you would eat all their spicy and full of Garlic Kimchi. That would surely give you some good scoring points for some late night action after lots of Soju.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#22 2008-06-17 03:12:18

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

Garlic and onion according to the medicine of India (home of Buddhism) are regarded as medicinal and therefore valuable for health. However Indian medicine (and Chinese etc) does not merely think of things as healthy or unhealthy, but what they do in whatever situation. Onions and garlic happen to be "tamasic" and therefore dull the mind. Because of this property, it is common for meditators (Hindu, Buddhist etc) to avoid them. Some Hindus take particular care of foods and their energetic effects, letting the foods aid them to tend towards as higher, lighter energy. In Buddhism there seems to be some variety of approaches though I don't know much about that. I do know that in Tibetan Buddhist practice, sometimes tamasic foods are deliberately eaten to ground one's energy in case of certain kind of "windy" (energetically) conditions which can sometimes give trouble to intensive meditators.

These things need not concern most people, and might end up leaking into superstitions. But their root is practical.

Justin
http://senryushakuhachi.com/

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#23 2008-06-17 03:17:51

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

As to understanding the relevance of "10,000 books of stories, commentaries and so on", I think one can get quite lost in all that. It depends what you want. What do you want?

There is an excellant genuine teacher in the U.S. Here is his website.
http://www.adyashanti.org/

You can get some free audio downloads from his "library page".
http://www.adyashanti.org/cafedharma/in … rary_audio

Justin
http://senryushakuhachi.com/

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#24 2008-06-22 02:52:35

DougSherman
Member
Registered: 2008-06-17
Posts: 5

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

As this is my first post, an introduction.  My name is Doug, I have just begun learning the shakuhachi as a student of Philip Gelb.  So far the whole experience has been wonderful.  I certainly will have very little to add to and will mostly be an observer with regards to the instrument for now, but maybe I can add something to this topic as a vipassana practitioner.

Seth wrote:

Gishin- Can you articulate the practical and/or spiritual value of studying the greater world of Buddhist lore and thought?  (Which is what I am calling the Dharma. Let me know if I am abusing the term painfully.)

I really would love to know the value of the pursuit of studying dharma.   Emotionally I would love for you to show me the benefits of this endavour, but intellectually I am very skeptical.

First, what is dharma?  Is Honkyoku the sound that comes from the end of the bamboo or is it the scribblings on the piece of paper that represent it?  If one where to read every instrument playing guide, watch every DVD instructional video and interview with every great player alive, would he or she be able to pick up the flute and play as a master?

In the beginning, reading and hearing dharma talks can be of great service in inspiration.  However, unless one practices a meditation of some sort, it will just be a massage of the mind and ego and no benefit will ever really result from it.

The Buddha was an extremely practical man and did not create a religion.  He put forth several medititions for development, the practicality of each dependent upon the needs of the individual practicing.   For example, the meditations on corpses in charnel grounds would be for those particularly attached to their beauty, body and physical existence.

With by no means meant as a condemnation of any schools of buddhist practice, it is a little unfortuanate that the west has predominantly been influence soley by mahayanin traditions.  In the same way as the charnel grounds "fits" certain people, mahayanin "fits" certain people.  I personally found it didn't fit me , I practices Soto Zen for some time, and I didn't "get it"

In the Therevada tradition and in vipassana practice in particular, the whole matter is much more scientific and psychological.  By directly observing sensation on the body, one breaks the chain of reacting with craving or aversion and experiential wisdom develops with regards to impermanence.

So if you really want to know dharma, find the right meditation practice for your personality and experience it.  Then supplement it with the appropriate teachings to guide you and further inspire you.  Anything less would be a waste of time and just add another fetter to your progress.


"Be a refuge unto yourself" - Buddha Shakyamuni

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#25 2008-06-22 03:15:51

DougSherman
Member
Registered: 2008-06-17
Posts: 5

Re: Gishin, help me understand!

A couple other comments...

"Lance wrote: Do we believe that ‘enlightenment’ was brought by Buddha, where it had not existed before? Do we believe that we must be given enlightenment through some ‘master’ or earn it along some path? That we seek others for our salvation is a flaw we must be cautious against. As one might carry water to the thirsty, and save them, the water was there before, to be found."

The answer in the tripitaka is very clear here.  The capacity for (certain) beings to achieve enlightenment is always available and in no way shape or form was created by or can be directly assisted by the buddha.  "The Buddha" is one who fully and completely liberates himself from all defilements, he rediscovered the techniques that had been lost and forgotten but already achieved by previous buddhas.  The buddha can only show the way, each individual must discover it themselves.  With regards to the final part, that is why it has been said that you must "kill the buddha,"  often a final fetter is clinging to the teaching or the teacher.

"Seth wrote: Is there really a school of thought that ascribes equal value to plants and animals? I had thought that the Buddha preached value for all sentient beings.  Not sure the Buddha saw plants as an actual sentient creatures. "

There is a zen master who said something to the effect that he ate plants because they screamed less.  This is my own opinion, garnered somewhat from reading "The comprehensive manual of abhidhamma."  This text is a "Reader's Digest" version of 7 books (abhidhamma) which systematically detail all types of matter, conciousness, beings, etc (everything?)  Anyway, all beings have varying degrees of energy and physical form.  All have varying degrees of consciousness.   Humans for example, in addition to the 5 traditional western senses there is the 6th "mind" sense, that creates thoughts, images, ideas based upon prior experience and creates things beyond that.  Plants have a very rudimentary, reflex consciousness.  They cannot decide, NOT to turn towards the light.  While no station in the continuum of beings is better or worse than another, the suffering and effect on the rebirth process might be less on the primitive conscious.

Seth wrote: 4) Do you believe that the Buddha will come back in a new incarnation?"

The buddha said no.  He would not answer as to what happened to him on his parinivana (final nirvana).  In fact, he didn't teach reincarnation which implies a soul.  He taught rebirth, which is something that is constantly happening to each individual moment to moment as the conditions of life remain.  Upon the termination of this body, a linking conciousness is the seed for another consciousness, but it is not a permanent everlasting soul.  That which compose a being are the 5 aggregates, matter, feeling, perception, mental formations, and conciousness.  Each of these things conditions and support each other to give rise to the appearance of permanence.  With liberation, this delusion is gone and one sees oneself as only being composed of these things.

Last edited by DougSherman (2008-06-22 06:30:01)


"Be a refuge unto yourself" - Buddha Shakyamuni

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